A History of Hacking

While our team is now extremely well-versed and full of experts in the field of cybersecurity, there once was a time where hacking was a new concept to, well...everyone! Before the knowledge that allows us to deliver a superior threat defense using industry-leading security partners and technologies was available, we too were learning all about the ins and outs of hacking. 

When did it begin? Who was the first to try it? Join us for a brief journey through the history of hacking that, by default, helped Kobargo become who we are!

How Hacking Started

We’ve all come to know the most commonly known use for the word “hacker” as a descriptor for someone who (ordinarily) maliciously engages in cybercriminal activity. Typically, they gain access to platforms, servers, information, and more through means of digital breaking and entering, essentially. However, the modern use of the word in relation to computers and technology is a fairly new introduction. 

According to The New Yorker, a meeting at M.I.T. in 1955 is to be thanked for it. 

In minutes detailing a meeting of The Tech Model Railroad Club, one line reads: “Mr. Eccles requests that anyone working or hacking on the electrical system turn the power off to avoid fuse blowing.” In an article by Tripwire, this was in reference to members in the club “hacking” high-tech train sets to improve their functions and make customizations. Eventually, those individuals moved from trains to computers and joined an early group of tech-users that played with hacking abilities and created some of the programs we all use today. 

By the 1960s, the term “hack” was widely being used by the budding computer industry and in 1975 a glossary for computer programmers, called The Jargon File, was launched that gave us a more well-known definition. It defined hacker in multiple ways, one being: “[deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence password hacker, network hacker. The correct term for this sense is cracker.” 

In the 1970s, we saw hacker John Draper become an infamous household name due to “phreaking”, or phone hacking. In fact, according to Esquire, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were phone phreakers before creating Apple, further proving that hacking during the time period was booming. As the 1980s arrived, the general population was beginning to fill their homes with personal computers and hacking was now possible for anyone who owned one, not just businesses or wealthy enough entities. 

M.I.T. can also be credited for hacking the annual Harvard-Yale balloon incident on November 30, 1982. According to CyberSecurityMastersDegree.org, a black balloon inflated along the sideline stopped the game, and on it was a set of letters that read “MIT”. The balloon popped, and the football game was officially “hacked”. With a new influx of even more advanced tactics, 1986 brought about the first legislation that had to do with hacking, the Federal Computer Fraud, and Abuse Act.

While the goal of hacking hasn’t changed much in 40 years, the approach and severity of attacks undeniably have. Not to mention, cybercriminals are far more bold, brazen, and unbothered. Unlike the early years in hacking, the 2000s and beyond have shown us that even the biggest, most secure companies are at risk. Take famous 21st-century breaches such as those at Yahoo, Equifax, Target, Uber, and Sony PlayStation for example, just to name a few.

In 2020 we’re seeing hackers evolve beyond our wildest, earliest imaginations in terms of hacking abilities. We’ve even witnessed hacking become popular in its own right with small events like local hackathon seminars and entire careers based on ethical hacking. Plus, movies such as Snowden, Eagle Eye, and Die Hard have helped the topic become slightly mainstream. Basically, hacking can absolutely be detrimental, but it can also be an extremely useful tool. We’re far from the beginning and nowhere near the end with hacking, but we certainly are ready to take it on.

How We Can Help

We have nearly 50 years of experience working in technology at Kobargo, and a drive to deliver the promised service you expect. We understand that the one size fits all model doesn't apply to each business and each company has unique needs, challenges, and budgets. We can help you gain a clear understanding of your environment and ultimate goals and can create a plan that meets your needs. Contact us today to see if we can you and your organization.

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